Kajal Nisha Patel (b.1979), is a visual artist, working between the UK and India. Having previously specialised in storytelling through documentary photography and filmmaking, her evolving practice now includes found Indian textiles and other objects. She shifts between representation and abstraction while spanning across disciplines, social groups and contexts. She uses art and social practice to initiate dialogues between different communities.

 

She has documented the British South Asian experience, concentrating on issues around cultural conflict, assimilation and the formation of new identities. Kajal is the recipient of numerous grants, international awards and residencies. Most recently, in 2016 she was awarded the prestigious Leverhulme Artist Residency within the department of Sociology, Media & Communication at the University of Leicester. Her work revolves around themes relating to industry, trade and the movement of low waged labour. The intersectional identities of British South Asian women are the current focus of her personal work.

 

In 2008, Kajal founded Lightseekers, a collaborative social practice, using art and storytelling to engage with complex social issues. Lightseekers encourages intergenerational, cross-cultural dialogue and space is created for sub-alternate narratives.

 

Grants & Awards

 

The Leverhulme Trust, Artist in Residence, Award, 2016

Community Engagement Fund, Leicester City Council, Grant, 2016

Big Lottery Fund, Lightseekers – UK, Connecting Cultures, 2014

LLRC, Lightseekers, UKSocial Enterprise Fund, 2013

Magenta Flash Forward, Winner, 2013

Asian Women Photographers Showcase, Finalist, 2013

The Sandergram Project, Artist Rooms, Tate Gallery/New Walk Museum, Winner, 2013

Format Festival, Exposure. Selected Artist, 2013

Heritage Lottery Fund, Trading Spaces, All Our Stories, Grant, 2012

Near Neighbours, Belgrave Factory Workers, Church Urban Fund, 2012

Nesta & New Art Exchange, Culture Cloud, Finalist, 2012

Leicester City Council, Finding My Path, Grant, 2012

Gammelgaard Monochrome, Copenhagen, Lightseekers – India, Grant, 2012

LCB Depot Prize, Open 21, Winner, 2009 

Arts Council England, Lightseekers, Grant, 2009

Leicester City Council, Lightseekers, UK, Grant, 2009

Selected Commissions

 

The Derby QUAD (Lightseekers)

“Art as Life. A Practice for Everyday Life”. A collaborative project about the loss of collective and individual identity following the decline of British industry. Jul – Nov 2017

 

New Art Exchange, Nottingham (Lightseekers)

“a rebel scene”. Mixed-media installation created in dialogue with local advocacy groups, addressing the concept of mental, physical, virtual space as a discursive realm for political ideas. April – Sept 2016

 

Loughborough University, Department of Politics, History & International Relations

“Four Women. Five Stories”. A film series profiling the 1972 Mansfield Hosiery Mills Asian workers strikes for equal pay. Jun – Dec 2015

 

City Arts, Nottingham

“Portrait”. Documenting industrial decline in the areas surrounding Chesterfield. Feb – Apr 2015

 

 

Publications

 

Featured artist – Doh Mix Meh Up – Diaspora and Identity in Art, Eds. Jane Garnett and Sunil Shah, Oxford Diasporas Programme, Oxford University, Leverhulme, Sep 2015.

 

Jilly Boyce Kay and Kajal Nisha Patel (in preparation) ‘Spectacular intimacies and new multiculturalisms in British-Asian wedding videos’ in J.B. Kay, M. Kennedy and H. Wood (eds.), The Wedding Spectacle in Contemporary Media and Culture: Something Old, Something New. Abingdon and New York: Routledge.

 

Television, Press & Media

 

The Guardian,

The Economist,

The Independent,

British Journal of Photography,

BBC World News,

Buzzfeed,

Outlook India,

BBC East Midlands Today,

BBC Radio Leicester/Notts/London

 

 

Artist Talks/Lectures

 

Creating Interference: Re-imagining histories/memories, Westminster School of Media, Arts and Design, Jun 2018

 

Making Suburban Faith, AHRC Project,

University College London, Sep 2017

 

The October Dialogues,

The Nottingham Contemporary, Oct 2017

 

Black Feminism, Womanism and the Politics of Colour in Europe,  University of Edinburgh, Sep 2016

 

Burning Doors, Art, Protest, Activism – Tools of Dissent, Belarus Free Theatre + Pussy Riot, Aug 2016

 

Leicester for Peace, Attenborough Arts Centre, Leicester, May 2015

 

The Royal Photographic Society

Ravensbourne College, Greenwich

May 2015

 

The Eye Festival

Aberystwyth

Jun 2014

 

Portrait Salon

FUSE Arts Space, Bradford

Oct 2013

 

Gammelgaard Kunst & Kultur Centre

Herlev, Copenhagen

Sep 2011

Selected Exhibitions

 

‘Spirit’, Venice Biennale, Absence of Paths Online Platform, Tunisia Pavilion, July 2017

 

Flâneur by Paris, A Perspective, Cité International Universitaire de Paris, May 2016

 

The Portrait Salon, Reminders Photography Stronghold, Sumida Tokyo, Japan Feb 2016

 

The Impact of Diasporas, Royal Geographical Society, Leverhulme Funded, Oxford University Sept 2015

 

Changing Britain, The Southbank Centre, London Apr 2015

 

Doh Mix Meh Up, OFS Arts, Oxford University, Nov 2014

 

100 Images of Migration, School of Museum Studies, Leicester May 2014

 

Flash Forward, Fairmont Battery Wharf, Boston, USA, Mar 2014

 

Making Home, Royal Geographical Society, London, Sep 2013

 

Flash Forward, Neubacher Shor Contemporary, Toronto, Oct 2013

 

Fabric, Asian Women Photographers Showcase, Chiang Mai, Thailand, May 2013

 

Factory, Format Festival, Derby, April 2013

 

Photographic Thinking, TEDx AshokaU Exchange, San Diego, Mar 2013

 

Fabric, Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow, Jun 2013

 

Flight to Greenham, Greenham Common Arts, Newbury, Nov 2012

 

Protection, M.Žilinskas Art Gallery Auditorium, Lithuania, Oct 2012

 

The Golden Mile, The National Museum of Singapore, Sep 2012

 

From Kampala to Leicester, Leicester New Walk Museum, Aug 2012

 

The Golden Mile, New Art Exchange, Nottingham, May 2012

 

Magnum Photos, The Whitechapel Gallery, London, May 2011

 

Satyaprakash, BBC, Leicester, May 2008

 

Satyaprakash, Seva Café, Ahmedabad. India, May 2007

 

 

Collections

 

Leicester New Walk Museum, Private collections; USA, Australia, UK